First let me start off by defining “sexy plank.” Have you ever watched Phoebe Waller Bridge’s brilliant and amazing show “Fleabag”? If not, go watch. I’ll wait.
Oh cool you’re back! So there’s one episode where the eponymous Fleabag goes on a date or something with some shitty guy that has a girlfriend he’s cheating on and at one point he wants to end things with Fleabag and he’s struggling with it and he says, “You just kept turning up like this sexy…plank.” And she stands there all long and slouchy-like and glares at him but also kind of grins at him at the same time.
This completely cracked me up and I couldn’t get it out of my head. But I wasn’t sure why. And then I realized that I’m surrounded by sexy planks.
I mean maybe not surrounded but they’re around. I didn’t have a name for them before but now I do because Fleabag gave it to me. Maybe I’m completely bastardizing it and maybe that’s not what they wanted me to do, but it became a personal inside joke with myself and person-qualifier in my brain and now I’m sharing it with you. Because people need to define what other people are and what box they fit into because it’s easier for our brains. Look it up, it’s science. Being a sexy plank is a positive thing though, hence the word “sexy.”
Long and slouchy and half glaring/half-grinning, all through the streets of Brooklyn, Jersey City, and my preferred neighborhoods of Manhattan, they are ambling along. On impossibly long thin legs with slouching shoulders and a bit of a smirk and a completely effortless and unattainable aura of cool. In the tri-state area nothing is cooler than not trying or caring or giving a shit, and sexy planks don’t have to try at all. And they operate at an unattainable level of not trying.
Maybe they’re trying on the inside! I’m sure they are. I mean I don’t know maybe I should talk with some sexy planks and be like, “Do you try like I do and it just looks easier? I look like a moron trying so hard to be cool every day.” It’s always been hard for me to realize that the coolest thing about being cool is NOT trying. Hence it being unattainable. Because one can’t just TRY not to try. It’s really a chicken or egg thing I guess.
Have I said that the sexy plank energy/vibe/lifestyle is unattainable?
I was once very overweight and I lost a great deal of weight and I was like “I’m thin now I can be a sexy plank! Look I’m slouching!”
But no that did not work. Because as usual I was trying too hard. I was consciously slouching and trying to take up less space. Trying to monopolize on taking up less space. That sounds paradoxical but I was trying to emphasize how little space I was now taking up by slouching.
Basically no matter how much you work out or how strong you feel (woo!), you will not be a sexy plank. You will be able to DO a sexy plank (woo!) but in order to BE a sexy plank you need to be born a sexy plank.
My sister is a sexy plank. Hi pop.
Anyway this sexy plank distinction came into play when I was going on stupid dates and trying to find dudes to hang out with and whatever I was doing that wasn’t working when it came to dealing with the opposite sex over the past 10 years. And there would be dudes that I was like “omg love that dude” and he’d be like “yeah cool whatever I’ll just be over here with this sexy plank but see you at some point after 3am but before 6am make sure you put on west side story k bye.”
And I would be like, “ugh. Every dude wants a sexy plank.” And this was hyperbole. Every dude did not want a sexy plank. But every dude DOES want something different, and so does every gal, and we’re all not going to be what someone wants some of the times and that’s okay. And it took me a long time to be okay with that. I swear I’m okay with it now. Maybe.
But even if “maybe” I’m okay with it now, it’s more a matter of pride/ego than actually feeling hurt by it. This took a lot of personal growth and you should be proud of me. Thank you.
Part of working through this was writing notes to myself in my iPhone notepad as many of us do. Do many of us do that? I do know that I am one of “us” and I write many notes.
And these were my thoughts on sexy planks I’d seen around the town, and comparing myself to the sexy planks, because as women we are conditioned to always compare and weigh and measure and find ourselves wanting. Oh and also the “he” encompasses many, all the he’s that ever thought I was “too much” over the history of time, pretty much:
Neither of them take up any space and seem quiet and meek, trying not to draw too much attention. Not like I’ve ever spoken to them. In his mind he probably just thought I was “annoying.” But that’s semantics. By “annoying” I’m certain he would mean all of the things I prize most about myself: being outspoken, taking up space, laughing too loud. I’m going to assume he simply wasn’t interested in THOSE qualities and interpret his “annoying” as “just not for me.” Keep in mind I don’t even know this any of these people at all and this dialogue exists solely in my head.
Wow. That really went somewhere. JK it didn’t. Also I do create narratives in my mind about people I barely know and I give them entire personalities based on like, their Venmo activity but I will explore that another time.
I guess you’re supposed to like “learn shit” from dating and this was something that I learned. It’s the whole grass is always greener bullshit.
Here I am, wanting to be a cool as a cucumber, quiet(er), aloof, slouching in a cool way sexy plank, and I ended up realizing part of who I am is NOT being cool. That I LIKE the uncool part, and being loud and taking up space is important to me. That walking into a bar or a store or a party and being like “HELLO I AM HERE LOOK AT ME” is the only way I want to live. That maybe everyone doesn’t like that and is quite possibly horrified and appalled and embarrassed by that and that’s okay.
Additionally over the past couple of years it’s become very important to me to not hate other women or see them as competition for dudes. In breakup or cheating situations now if I’m trying to comfort my gal friends I tread very carefully and don’t talk shit about other women, as in the “new woman.” A lot of times it’s easy to try to make your pal feel better and be like, “She’s dumb!” “She sucks!” “I hate her shoes!” “She is literally a FETUS!”(for those under 27). And it’s hard around these parts because it’s a big city but a small town, and pals see exes out and it’s weird and it’s hurtful and it’s garbage. But we soldier on. And talking bad about other gals isn’t going to make you seem any cooler. I’m uncool overall and not an authority on cool by any means but THIS I know to be true.
AND THIS WAS ALL A LIGHTBULB MOMENT.
I remember when I wrote myself that note and what I thought about. It was a sunny day, a band was playing. I was drinking a Ruby Redbird. And I realized I don’t have to be a sexy plank. And also that sexy planks don’t have to be me. And we can all be who we want and no matter who we are we can do whatever we want and that boxes are bullshit so please break down your boxes and recycle them and don’t let the door hit you on your way out.